ISLAMABAD: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has stressed the need for ending military’s domination in Balochistan and called for a probe into accusations of state agencies’ involvement in enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings.
“The state should expose the funding for hate-mongering business from Pakistan and abroad. All countries that call themselves Pakistan’s friends should be reminded to restrain their generosity towards religious extremists in order to help put an end to bloodshed in the country,” the report of an HRCP fact-finding mission said on Thursday.
The report, “Hopes, fears and alienation in Balochistan”, was launched weeks after Interior Minister Rehman Malik shared with members of the Senate documentary evidence of material support being provided by neighbouring Afghanistan to separatist elements in the volatile province, including an official approval for provision of Kalashnikov and sniper rifles.
The minister had also promised to give more details in an in-camera session and revealed that both friends and foes were supporting insurgency in the province.
The HRCP report said domestic actors facilitating Talibanisation should also be named, shamed and proceeded against.
“One would like to think that the bitter lessons of the policy of keeping Islamist militants as the country’s auxiliary force have been learned once for all. However, accounts of safe havens and training facilities for the militants suggest otherwise. At the risk of stating the obvious, this policy must be abandoned,” the report said.
It said that a growing network of religious seminaries had contributed to aggravation of inter-sect tensions. There were fears that security forces were patronising militants and Quetta was being turned into a haven for militants.
Noting that enforced disappearances and dumping of mutilated bodies were the biggest causes of resentment and alienation in Balochistan.
The report said involvement of Frontier Corps (FC) and intelligence agencies in such incidents had been proved beyond any doubt.
The fact-finding mission said that anyone accused of any offence should be tried in accordance with the law with due process.
“Even if criminals and insurgents resort to violence and killings, the state must hold itself to a higher standard in its response”.
The report said that political parties should be encouraged and helped to participate in elections. Election observers from Pakistan and abroad should have access to all areas to monitor all poll-related aspects.
Rather than the security forces, the government that emerges following elections must be the principal actor authorised to deal with challenges of the province.
The security forces must play a role only when summoned by civilian authorities, must not exceed the authority delegated to them, must act in a lawful manner and must be held to account for any infraction.
It said there were multiple layers of violence and tension in the province. The law and order was a problem that casts a long shadow on all aspects of life.
The crime wave that has engulfed urban Balochistan and the main highways were either a mark of collusion or utter incompetence of the authorities.
“The conclusion that most people reached in Balochistan was that the criminals had not been arrested because they enjoyed the patronage of the authorities. The provincial home minister had spoken of fellow cabinet members’ involvement in this crime but no action was taken.”
Members of the mission were shocked at the glut of sophisticated firearms in Balochistan and people’s easy access to them and the way huge quantities of weapons manage to pass through a series of checkposts while a common citizen was stopped for carrying even a knife.
The report said that despite the government’s oft-voiced desire for a political solution to the crisis in Balochistan, no progress had been made on talks with disgruntled elements.
The state abdicating its responsibilities and NGOs retreating for fear of abduction have further aggravated the crisis.